Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Burn Out...

I have GOT to get over this. I am so cranky. I am so sick of my children. And they aren't even being that difficult.


I'm tired.

I'm burnt out and grumpy.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Angelina Jolie...Parenting 6 littles is "easy"

I came across this article, and it runkled me.
And I quote:

It’s easy when they’re small, she says, and don’t require much emotional
support. But as they get older, “they’re going to need a lot more talking in the
middle of the night, like I did with my mom for hours. We want to make sure we
don’t build a family so big that we don’t have absolutely enough time to raise
them each really well.”

What PLANET is the woman living on?

Okay I certainly shouldn't be surprised by this. It is Angelina Jolie for crying out loud. It's just so sad to me because this is the predominant mindset in our culture: that children "don't [or shouldn't] take much when they're little." Or that if you're a good parent your kids don't take much from you, at any stage.

And I think this mindset sets a lot of new parents up for convenience parenting. which bottom line, is neglect.

Now I'm not saying a parent has to do a, b, and c to be a "good" parent. But I do think our cultural mindset that "when they are little it is easy" should make us pause.

Easy why? Easy how?

We do children a big mis-servce (and even some extensive damage) when we view them as these little automatons until they hit their teens. Instead of individual unique people. People with very real needs and feelings.

I won't go into the neglect and abuses the babies and children in our culture endure.

But I do want to ask why this mindset that the teen years are "so hard", and take up so much time? Yes the teen years are full of change. It is intense. But why harder work? Different work, but parenting is always work.

I think the change could be compared quite closely to that of toddlerhood. The toddler is no longer a baby. But lacks the emotional and physical skills of a child. The toddler is developing fine and gross motor skills, as well as discovering the boundaries of life.

While Teens are no longer children. They still lacks the emotional and physical freedom of an adult. The Teen is transitioning into more responsibility and making decisions about the direction their life will take. Finding the balance as the boundaries slowly change as the young adult matures and is ready to leave the nest.

Both these transitions take a LOT of energy and work!

I'm not come to any other conclusions in this post. I haven't parented long enough to. But I will say that I wonder if you parent your children consistently all along. Especially in the early years giving lots of time building a strong connection and bond...Maybe the teen years won't be as much drama and conflict as you envision?

Bottom line, if parenting six small children is "easy", I need a few good nannies.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

TMI But I'm Celebrating!

This is a silly TMI little tidbit to celebrate. I have officially been not-pregnant longer than I was after Riley (if you catch my drift)!!!!!!! Relief.

My goal is to get to 12mos with out getting preggo, after that I'd prefer to wait until we have the option of a second bedroom (co-sleeping/room sharing with 3 kids, would not be ideal for us).

I know that may seem like an odd thing to celebrate. But having been blind sided with an unexpected pregnancy on top of the fact that pregnancy is REALLY REALLY rough on my body. Well a full year with out being pregnant would be so welcome. I feel like my body is JUST starting to fully recover from Amity's birth. I can now sit on hard surfaces with no pain (it took a long time). I'm only about 10lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight (and with a 70lb weight gain I'm so thrilled with this fact). And even with the extra weight I'm carrying I'm in the best shape of my life: running my first 5k in about 2 weeks. And feeling really good about the kinds of foods I'm enjoying.

After a looong 75 day cycle (but only a 8 day luteal phase so I guess I'm not really fertile yet) I'm NOT pregnant!

Happy Dance.

Now off to put a heating pad on my back for some reason I'm getting nasty cramps there: never had that before: makes carrying the baby miserable.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Processing. Morning Sickness, Motherhood.

I'm not sure how to Title this post.

My cousin is expecting her first baby. I am SO excited for her and her hubby. Finally!! Another person in my family to have kids, yay!

She's suffering through morning sickness right now and she was apologizing for complaining. And I was thinking back to those hours of retching up nothing and not being able to swallow any thing with out gagging. Orange gatorade, saltines and ginger gum. Week after week. It was the most miserable thing I have ever experienced (thankully not as extreme with my second!). And I just kept telling myself "this is a good sign. there's a baby at the other end of this."

And it continued for months. I got a brief hiatus for a month or two and then it returned. But on top of it was gut wrenching soul killing PAIN like nothing else (seriously childbirth isn't even as bad as that pain was!). Gall bladder attacks. dun dun duuuuuh. Misery.

But I didn't know what the problem was. My MW said it was probably a "hiatal hernia" and that it would go away when the baby was born and try to eat small meals (I was!).

Then the day finally arrived, I was in labor! I was finally going to have my baby and be DONE with the sickness. FINALLY 9 long months of dry heaving, gagging...you get it, it was not good. My baby would be worth all of that!

And then the traumatic birth. And I didn't feel like...like I thought I would. She was my baby. But seriously, this was what I went through 9mos of torture for?

And then on top of all the breastfeeding drama (oh the challenges!), the pain returned. I remember carrying my 3 week old infant into the doctors office and telling him what was up. That I was up for hours at night barfing and in pain. But the pain wasn't in the right place for gall bladder (looking back we think because the pregnancy + c/s moved things around a bit). And the pain also presented in this searing burning in my sternum. He sent me home with prilosec (which I later discovered was NOT compatible with breastfeeding ergh!), and it did nothing.

But I was in a fog. I was overwhelmed. I had a fussy high needs newborn on me 24/7 and I was so sleep deprived and out of it I didn't know which was was up. When she was 10 weeks old I finally caved and went to the ER. My liver was in trouble. My enzyme counts were up over 1,000 (normal is between 7-40). They admitted me. Week of hell. Thankfully the hospital allowed Ryan to room in with me so Riley could be near me and nurse. We learned to nurse that week, it just clicked. And being forced into the cotton hospital gown all week healed my nipples. So some good things came out of it. I had two surgeries that week and then the day after my gall bladder was removed I came down with a 104.5 fever (REALLY high for me as my normal temp is 96.7). More tests, blood cultures, blood drawn constantly it felt like. Nasty mean nurse sticking things up my nose and down my throat while I was delirious.

Diagnosis? Flu. I must have picked it up in the ER. I wasn't allowed to leave until my fever was broken. Nightmare.

I got home from that week, I bounced back fairly quickly. But it just seemed so unfair. I went through almost a year of hell to get my baby here safely...For what? To greet her in a busy crowded recovery room after she was cut out of me. To endure nursing issues, illness and then just plain fussy baby who didn't seem to like me.

Unfair. I had prepared so hard. Being a Mom was what I always wanted to do. Why me?

Anyway, back to my point (or the origional subject?):I responded to my cousins comment. I told her she had every right to complain. Morning sickness is one of the most miserable things to endure, especially when you don't know when or if it will end. It's like torture. But then I said "but the baby on the other end..! <3"

And I flashed back to what that meant to me. And then I flashed to now, who I am. Who my little Valiant Joy made me. How God has used her to shape me. How she challenges me. But OH how thankful I am for her!! She's taught me to be brave. To find my voice and stick to my guns. To speak what I feel regardless of what people might say back. I can now honestly say, she was truly worth the hell I went through.

Tonight she pinched her finger and she reached for me. She laid sobbing on my chest asking me to kiss her finger multiple times. Broke my heart. But as her little face looked up to me, and I looked into her gorgeous eyes, I just wanted squeeze her. And thank her. And love her. And tell her what she means to me. She's made of tough stuff! She fits every description of "more" that Dr. Sears mentions in his Fussy Baby Book ...But she had to, to be my first. For God to peel back my pride and "this is how it is"'s and show me how HE was calling me to parent.

Maybe this is a bit of a rabbit trail. But I've been thinking about how stinken hard it is being a First Time Mom. And the really unfair irony of it is that you are ALWAYS a first-time Mom. Every age and stage for every child is new. Just because you raised one doesn't mean you've seen it all. I'm finding with my second that I feel like the more (we'll see...) kids I have the LESS I feel like I know! I'm just feeling this out, and I'm glad Riley is made of stuff that will survive all that.

Okay to return, and in closing. So Riley's gestation and all that stuff was so hard. And still struggle with envy (and confusion) when people say that they love being pregnant. And how wonderful childbirth was for them with their first. It stings. And I feel such camaraderie whenever some one says they are suffering from morning sickness. To validate their frustration and misery to every depth. Because it really makes you feel weak. Like your body is punking out on you. At least it did for me. But I think I'm finally getting to the place where I'm more thankful than envious. Slowly but surely Riley's pregnancy, birth, and first year don't leave such a bitter taste in my mouth (though I'll never ever be able to drink organge gatorade with out wanting to gag). As you can see from the posts this week, I'm kinda coming around a bend- or to the top of a hill- and I'm seeing. "Ooooooh".

I'm excited to see where the rest of these relizations go!

So Not PC

But I can't resist sharing THIS.

Have to say: breastfeeding the first few weeks IS a lot of work. Or at least it was for me. Especially the first time it IS a huge adjustment. When your pregnant you are gradually lead into sharing your body. First you feel the flutters, then the kicks, then the rolls, and eventually your sharing so much of your body you're desperate to get baby OUT. Then you finally do, you're holding your delicious baby. And your body is still being shared, baby is still fully (in it's mind) part of you.
On top of baby needing you, your body is sore from delivery, and that starts to feel a bit better but then your milk comes in and your sore. The first 2 weeks it seems like some thing new hurts every day. And then your body starts to feel more normal. But the baby keeps going.

What Mom's need to hear in the midst of this (or what I wish I had heard from a veteran mom!):

You're doing awesome. It gets so much better. One day a few weeks down the road, you'll wake up and realize you feel rested. You'll realize that the latching and the snuggling are second nature. RELAX! It doesn't have to look a certain way! Snuggle your baby close do what Mother's have done for thousands of years: one with their babies. They held them close, kept them close revelled in the oneness. It takes time to learn to live with your baby on the outside. Ask for help when you need some space. But enjoy your baby.

I never formula fed. But I gotta say after the first big growth spurt at 3 weeks (which was when my oversupply started to even out a leetle) breasteeding was SO easy with my second! I mean I felt so rested (for having a newborn)! I kept scratching my head wondering when the real zombie-land was going to come. It did come around 4-6mos when she started getting ready to crawl. And now again she's learning to walk and boy am I tired. I've actually been thinking about getting my thyroid checked. But then I remember how restless Amity is and think...I'll hold off until she's walking. Oh the joys of those big milestones!

The author of that little post does make a good point. With as unstable as the world is today breastfeeding is the safest option. I remember hearing that after Hurricane Katrina they had aide workers down there working with Mom's helping them relactate because formula was just too dangerous because water was limited. If some natural disaster (or other war-like disaster) were to hit the nursing mothers are prepared. Just a thought.

A friend shared that on facebook and I decided not to post there...I didn't feel like drama. But had to share some where, it made me smile. I will add (just to be a bit pc?) that I've known Mamas who've taken premixed forumla in a warmer to bed for baby's night feeding and they co-slept just fine. But that still does require more dishes and preperation (ie work). Than just popping your breast in babys mouth and falling back to sleep. :0)

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Grief, hard stuff, loss. It's an inescapable part of life. Sad things happen.

But I think it's even more sad when it's some thing that happened because of misinformation and bad advice.

This post on dr. mama made me happy and sad. It's so true. My Grandmother nursed my Mother for 3 months and then stopped because her doctor told her the milk went bad. She had 5 more children and I don't think she nursed any of them more than a few weeks.

I wish I could say what breastfeeding has meant to me. It has taught me more about myself than I knew any thing could. I remember feeling such failure after my first was born. I had dreamed of an intervention free birth. I had looked forwards to months of the first moments after she arrived, holding her near me feeling her. I remember saying to my MW that if at all possible I didn't want my baby away for me for any thing at the hospital. I wanted be there for all her first moments. Instead I was laying on a table unable to see her until she had been put through a conveyor belt of clamping, suction, stamping, rubbing, wrapping and she was brought over me. This little cocoon with a squinchy face. I couldn't even touch her because my hands were tied down. I wanted to say "I'm sorry, I would be with you if I could. I want to hold you to my heart and make you feel safe."

First time to see my baby.

That was a moment that I'll never get back. Where was I going with this? Oh yes, breastfeeding.

I remember our first feeding. I was very curious to know what it would feel like. I had to nurse her pretty much flat on my back because of the surgery. I remember the recovery nurse coming over and telling me to keep my arm straight because it was messing up my blood pressure reading. I just wanted to be in a bubble, for the world to go away so I could meet this baby. I don't know if I've ever said this, but I did kinda feel like I needed to soak her up: I was scared I didn't know she was mine. The fact that she had my forehead, and looked kinda like my older brothers newborn pictures helped. Also that she had my husbands funny toes and skinny feet She WAS mine.

Our first evening together...

I've mentioned it before: our first year was so rough. I think now 2.5 years in I'm really feeling some real healing from the experience. I mean I'm talking about it, that's big! I can honestly say, breastfeeding saved my relationship with my daughter. It wasn't just this extra perk that I could feel good about. It was our bond. It was our bridge to relationship in so many other ways. It taught me how to be her Mother. What putting some one else first really meant. What being a servant is. What laying down your life is. I remember all the tears of frustration and anger I cried when we were having latch, over active let down, over supply and major illness issues(on my part ending in a week long hospitalization. long story).

I remember patting my bleeding nipples with breastmilk crying and wanting to give up. But I remember thinking, breastmilk is for life. My body wouldn't let me birth the way I wanted to. But that was just one day, we just missed one day. An important day, but it was ONE. But breastmilk is for life, it's a commitment. I could give her milk. I could do this.

And I did.

Riley enjoying a picnic lunch at the park 6mos old.

I wouldn't be the mother I am, the person I am if it weren't for breastmilk. For fighting for my right to nurse my baby. I wouldn't have learned the lessons or grown as a person if it weren't for those challenging hours. I'm so thankful for my Mom's advice to "give it at least 6 weeks, and even then don't give up!". For LLL and kellymom . For all the Mother's who've mentored me near and far (what did we do before online communities?). For every word of encouragement and helpful idea. For my Husband who has spent WEEKS of his life walking screaming babies so I could take a break.

Riley nursed until she was almost 19mos old. Her weaning was low key, some times almost as painful as our early weeks. She weaned 2 weeks before her little sister joined our family. Our nursing relationship didn't go how I though it would. She hasn't nursed in almost a year, and I'm so thankful for how our relationship has grown out of what started with nursing. I guess I'm on this line of though because the one year anniversary of her weaning is coming up. I'm not sure what the date is, there were several "lasts" (or what I thought would be) and I honestly don't remember our last time nursing. I'm so thankful for how things worked out...I think now that I'm further away from it I can see what a blessing it all was. Having one ending and one start so close together has left me no time to process.

(I won't even go into my VBAC story and all that I learned there. Another post perhaps...I'm really processing a lot of all that, I can't believe it's almost been a year!)

I'm thankful for breastfeeding. I'm thankful for the redeeming grace of getting to nurse my firstborn. I wonder who I would be, as a mother and how I would be different if I had been given the bad advice my grandmother received...I really don't know. It all comes together, it all happened for a reason. Even as traumatic as her birth was, as sad as I feel about the stolen moments, I'm thankful. Because of what I've learned.

There is still a lot of grief about my first birth experience. I will forever live with this ugly massive scar across my lower abdomen. A scar that no matter how much weight I lose or how hard I work out, will forever pull and change the shape of my stomach (we're starting to think the surgeon botched it or some thing I have these random holes in my scar, like where skin healed at different levels...maybe I'll get brave enough to post pics some day). I also have scars on my nipples from the hard first few weeks, she literally gnawed holes in me. But the scars are reminders of where I've been and who I've become...And I hope will help other first-time Mom's I come across in the future.

Grief isn't pointless. Dissappointment is always going to come around. It's what you learn from it and take with you that really matters in the end. I'm so thankful that in all of this I learned some good lessons. And I hope in the outlets I've been given (ICAN, this blog, the young Mom's I come into contact with- who I try to be vocal yet in a gentle "listen to your instincts" kind of way): I'm passing it on!

What I've learned? Ask for help! Find your voice and use it! Give...And give some more! And be blessed, because even in the ugly disappointing things there is SO much joy!

And two little somebodies are starting to call...Nap time is over, and so is this post!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Erhg. All cops should have to take care of my kids on a bad day.

I got pulled over this morning. I still am a bit high on adrenaline. Ugh not the good kind. The girls were a mess this morning, we were moving from room to room trying to 1) get some house work done and 2) keep my sanity. A LOT of crying, a lot of whining, a lot of "No Mommie I don't want to"s while my 2 year old laid like a lump on the floor whenever any thing was said to her.

You would have thought it was Monday.

So at 9:30 when they were both screaming and Riley was asking to go back to bed. I thought They CAN'T take a nap yet, it's not even 10! If they nap now they will be ready for bed at 6 this evening, and up at 4 tomorrow morning. So in comes distraction: a trip to Target. We get loaded in the car, drive the 5 minutes to the store and walk around for an hour. Yes, now they are ready to go home have some lunch and take a nap. More than ready, if you know what I mean.

We're on our way home. We're driving home. Amity is fussing, I'm trying to hurry: If she falls asleep in the car I can kiss nap time good bye (she does NOT transfer and she will sleep for 5 minutes and be up for hours OVER TIRED). I'm behind a police car. No problem, I'm going the speed limit. I'm not riding along too closely.

Suddenly some thing giant and yellow is waving in rearview mirror. Oh Riley found the inter tube from the pool yesterday. Into the rear view mirror: "Riley, don't play with that it could get popped and won't work any more" I look back at the road and the cop as suddenly put on his turn signal and is STOPPING to turn RIGHT.
1) he didn't follow the law it should be at least 300 feet before the turn if going over 35mph (speed limit was 40mph)
2) You NEVER stop when turning RIGHT!!!!!!!

Now part of the stopping might have been because I was kinda coming up closer (???? I'll give him the benefit of the doubt?) than he anticipated and he was trying to decide what to do? Either way you GET OUT OF THE WAY if some one is coming up. I didn't hit him. I wasn't even close. But I was annoyed that he was stopping while turning (pet peeve, it is BAD driving) so I went around him (at a nice slow respectful speed and staying in my lane it wasn't like I was even veering out into the other lane)...He pulls a U-y and gets behind me. I turn off on to W st and he pulls me over.

I'm confused: what did I do wrong?

So then he spends 20 minutes (I kid you not) writing me a warning (for what??) while the girls are having a screaming match. And the A/C is out on the van so we're all dripping sweat and the baby is FREAKING because she wants some milkies and a nap and Ooooh I was ready to shake that cop.

He finally comes back with the ticket, I mean WARNING, and says "Okay so this will just take a few more minutes. Your story seems to line up. You do have two little kids back there and I do take into account that they are all fastened in the appropriate seats and and the seats are being used appropriately. bla bla bla bla here you go. Drive safely."


I'm generally a VERY Nice person.. Some times I'm a down right push-over (though some thing I'm improving on) but some thing about this run-in (or not, thankfully) just brought out the mother-bear in me and I'm quite proud of how well I held it together.

That cop obviously has never been the primary care giver for 2 small children under 3. And he's certainly never hung around and or driven small children when they are losing it.

All police officers should have to babysit small children for a day (they can use mine: they'd give them a well rounded experience!) and drive with them before they go pulling tired, hungry frazzled Mom's over and KEEPING them for more than 2 minutes. I'm serious. I'm sure he needed to look up my driving record (which is clean except for this stupid thing that says I was in an accident in 2004 when it WASN'T an accident: the tire just fell off my car, I was going 20mph through a little podunk town and the tire just CAME OFF...I didn't even hit a curb I just kinda coasted to a stop. Yet it's on my record. ergh).

Sorry this was a very venty post. It's been a very hard day.

Monday, June 21, 2010

"You Shouldn't Nurse HERE" Christians and Breastfeeding

I was at a family gathering over the weekend. In the past at family gatherings I've taken my baby to a quiet room to nurse. My babies (so far) are horribly distractable between the ages of 2-8months. No milk gets in to them when we're around a lot of people. And a lot of milk gets all over the place (ergh overactive let down!). I'm practically flashing every one with all the popping on and off nonsense. It's not discreet or comfortable for me. But on top of that, it's kind of where I've been more-or-less told to nurse my baby. "Oh she's hungry? You can go nurse her back in ______'s bedroom."

But now my baby is a whopping 10 months and she could nurse through anything. When she's hungry or tired: she could care less what is going on around her. We're in a good stage, and it's pretty discreet. We can even nurse in some positions that it looks like she's just snuggling with me, not the normal "cradle hold" deal. I love this age: they are so babyish still and snuggly. But big enough to get creative with how you nurse. Yet small enough where you aren't getting the "nursing a toddler" grief (at least in my circle).

So we were at a family Birthday party on Saturday evening and Ami was getting tired. I was visiting with my sister and 2 [female] cousins in this little side room (that was still kind of open to the rest of the party but more quiet) and I pulled Amity in to nurse. The reaction I got kinda made me sad. My sister said, "Are you sure you don't want to move over into that corner so no one out there can see?" I told her we were fine and she (and my cousins a bit) got uncomfortable. Awkward silence.

Thankfully my cousin A restarted the conversation she's second oldest of 6 kids and she remembers her Mom nursing I guess.

But really? 1) I would have to move from the comfortable couch to a folding chair, to nurse "in the corner" and 2) what is the big deal? No one but my sister (who was sitting right next to me) got a flash of any thing. And come on, I've changed in front of her thousands of times. 3) Amity was hungry...She pulls a bit of drama (quite loudly!) when she's nursing and forced to stop. It would have been a big deal to move and drawn more attention.

It bugged me. I hate how just because I'm a nursing Mother I'm expected in "certain circles" to step out and nurse my baby else where. Like I said, when my babies are young I don't mind all the time...It's a pain when baby is popping off and milk is spraying every where. But every where, mainly in Christian circles (specifically at church) breastfeeding Mom's are told where to nurse. At our old church it was this back corner of the nursery with this half wall built up. On top of the half wall there was a little paper sign that read, "Caution: Nursing Mother!"
It made me feel like I was doing some thing weird. Or like they needed to warn that some one was showering back there. Avert your eyes!!!

At our new church they are a little nicer. We get a whole room to ourselves with a TV to watch the service. No babies allowed in the service after worship: too distracting. I won't get started on that (it's a whooole different conversation!). But really?! Why this attitude? Is my sliver of breast (that may or may not even show) really going to cause a man to stumble? Really? Nursing breasts aren't all that pretty I gotta say. I won't go into details but I find the new set I've gotten since I had kids not nearly as sexy. Beautiful in their own way, sure but some things got big (huuuge), darker and kinda scary looking. Just sayin.

Which leads me to this wonderful post written by a Christian Father. He makes some excellent points.

In closing I wish I had the guts to nurse where ever I wanted. I do nurse in public. I've even nursed on the floor of the House of Representatives when we were in Washington D.C. a few years ago (long story but my oldest is probably the only baby in history to do so?). I nurse in slings and carriers. I nurse a lot of places if my baby is hungry. I love the looks of horror on peoples faces when they come over to look at my quiet"sleeping" baby in the sling or MT stroke her head and THEN realize "ooooh there's a bit of breast!" :0D

But when it comes to church and other places where Christians gather, I just feel like I'd be crossing a big line. A line filled with things I'm not willing face...Maybe after my third, or fourth baby I'll be so busy that it'll just have to be the fact? Just having one baby in tow will be a luxery? I do hate feeling like a bit of a leper "Oh this is where the nursing mother's go [insert uncomfortable tone here]. You can't hang out with the rest of us, you might cause some one to stumble, sorry."

This was another great article about Breastfeeding in Church. And with that I think I'll go drink my tea and soak up the rest of nap time. It'll be over all too soon.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

This Mouthful Is a Bit Much...

I think I bit off more than I can chew. Or maybe we all did? Or maybe it's this mind numbing exhaustion. Its' been a busy week. A beautiful busy week. The days have flown by and Friday is staring me in the face and I am glad. I think tomorrow is going to be a stay at home curl up in bed and watch movies all morning kinda day. Ha! More like, stay in bed for 45 minutes while the girls climb all over me and each other and then some one falls off the bed or hits their heads together or some thing and party is over. Not the relaxing kind of thing it used to be... We'll figure some thing out that means "low key" tomorrow I guess.

But maybe I can work it out to take a nap with the girls. And then get up and go to the park for the afternoon.

I miss my husband, he's got another meeting tonight. I slept through his evening home last night: I fell asleep with the girls. My body is not used to this social life! I've hung out with friends every day this week (I think?). It's been wonderful! But all the great conversation with little time to process. And all the sunshine and fresh air. All the constant fun. On top of Amity's LOOOONG luxurious (for her) nursing sessions a few times a night (that for some reason I can't sleep through?) are leaving me TIRED.

And I'm feeling overwhelmed. Next few weekends are jam packed and I hate that. Saturday I'm meeting with my "sister" for an early breakfast (hey Beck, if you read this can we move it up to 7? that'll give us more time to visit. I'll call!) and then I have our ICAN meeting, and then we come home and relax for a few hours and then we may go to my Grandmother's 75th Birthday Party: I feel like we should go. I want to go as my cousin is in from out of town and I'd like to see her. And then it's Sunday and Father's Day.

And then the next weekend Ryan has a conference (?) and I'm supposed to be throwing a Pampered Chef Party. I want to throw the party. It's been so long since I've done some thing grown up. But only 3 people have RSVP and I'm just not feeling it. I told my friend (whose just kinda getting started) that I'd throw it. But now I'm wondering if this is just too much for me to chew right now. The extra stress, ya know? Not to mention the fact that I will have no money to spend, not unless I borrow from my budget a week or two in advance. Father's Day kinda set me back. And I really need new running shoes (mine are DYING- falling apart= blisters) and have time to break them in before I run the 5k in a few weeks.

ergh. Is this a time where I need to be assertive and say "this is a bad time. Sorry." or push through and hope more people can come and it won't be a waste of energy?

Maybe things will look better in the morning?

In other news, I'm kinda feeling happy. Riley likes me again. I know that's pathetic. But ever since Amity was born we've struggled to find our new fit. She preferred Daddy. But now she's specifically asking for Mommie. This evening she ran over to me laid her head in my lap and said "Oh Mommie, I wub you!"


We've also been having special time before bed. She climbs up in bed with me and Daddy plays with Amity on the floor. Riley and I read stories. We snuggle and she piles all her stuffed animals on me. I love it. It's so nice to have a time of day when it's "just us" again, even for just a couple of minutes. I'd try to do things like that before, but she didn't want much to do with me. 10 long months... I think one of the things I most struggled with the last few weeks of my pregnancy with Amity was the fact that I'd be losing the "just us" factor with Riley. I was losing before I thought I was ready, before I wanted it. And it's been so hard. It's so lovely and rewarding to feel her pleasure when I nuzzle her neck or pretend she's a pillow. Especially after long days of "No Mommies" and "I don't want to" and "No." and having to forge through the best we can... helping her figure this autonomous thing out while still keeping her safe. And yes some times dealing with the tears and ugliness that come with my, "I know you don't want it but...[too bad]" moments. 2.5 is such a negative stage. Exhausting. The reconnecting is lovely.

And Amity my little monkey. She climbs any thing. She got up on the piano again today. oops.

I am going to close I think I hear a baby stirring and I need to go get her back down before she wakes some one else up!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Thinking About...

Whenever I write those words I can't help think of the book "The Education of Hyman Kaplan" you can't just read that book, you've gotta hear the record HYSTERICAL...

Anyway, random.

Thinking about big toddlers growing too fast.
About that sound my baby makes when she's tired and knows Mama's milk is coming.

Thinking about damp curls and coconut shampoo snuggled near my neck. Snuggled in bed together, while I read books from my childhood.

Thinking about my wonderful husband scheduling his meetings late. So he can come home from work, help me feed the kids, and put them to bed. I wouldn't be the person I am without you hun!

Thinking about lullabies and silly toddlers whispering in a LOUD voice. A voice that I can hear across the room and over our white noise [machine]: "Mommie?? Mommie!! I want a kiss. Mommie??? Will you give me one??" Oh toddlers stalling sleep, precious.

Thinking about sitting by bedsides patting bums singing favorite sleepy songs.

I hope my children remember that stuff. I hope they remember the snuggles. That I was more patient than I wasn't. That I really really loved them no matter how exasperated I acted. Or how much I wished myself out of the current drama (two little girls= soo much drama, what's that about?)

I started a post earlier today about parenting out of fear. How easy it is to do when you are parenting in any style: even "Attachment Parenting". It's so hard not to be afraid. I want to finish that post. But tonight I'm in a bit too much of a mushy moony mood.

I had a lovely day. I said it a few weeks ago, but broken record here I go. I hope I'm getting to the point in life where I can just take things as they are. It is what it is. I used to dream up these big beautiful things, visions for my future etc. And then be tragically disappointed. I am a bit dramatic. It is what it is, and whatever God is doing it is beautiful...Whatever shape it takes. Even if I think it looks ugly, one day I'll realize it really isn't so much...And hopefully for those things I'm in that place (are you tracking? I'm really in a weird mood) I'll be further down the road and see that they were actually quite beautiful, breath taking... Ah, for those days.

Sheesh this is getting a little too much. I'm just (dare I say it??) HAPPY. Not in the "life's all good" kinda way. But in a Thank you Lord, for finally opening some freakin doors! No disrespect meant, but seriously! :0.

I feel like the last month or two God's just been ... I don't know bringing clarity? Bringing me around the looong bend I've been trudging through? Showing me... beauty for ashes. joy for mourning? I've just felt so sad and disappointed in so many respects. grief. And I'm getting to a point where it's okay. those things sucked (notice when I'm really thinking all punctuation goes out the window?). It's okay to be angry about them, sad, disappointed. It's okay things won't be what you want them to be 99% of the time. But I'm finding they're better that way. Not in a "I'm stuffing feelings" kind of way, but they really ARE better.

So tonight I'm thinking how thankful I am. Thankful for the people God has used to keep me afloat (my dear bestest hubbers mainly, but there were so many others who've prayed for me and loved me). I'm sure there will be days, hours week where I sink...But the numbness is wearing off...I can FEEL God holding on to me. Where before it was just painful tingling and the not-so-fun knowledge of that fact. Because I was afraid. But He's always holding on. And I've decided to grip on too and start moving forward.

So on that happy note, I'll close this long rambly kinda opaque (is that the word I mean? yup, google says it is.) post. Good night.

and it WILL be a good night because hubbies bringing Chocolate Cake (to die for stuff) from the B diner after his meeting. lucky me... Going to have to run 2 extra miles tomorrow but I'll do it!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

It's US Against THEM!!!

Nap times going to be over soon. I'm feeling so on edge.
I need to vent.
Can I just say I strongly dislike our culture. That "hurry up and get that baby detached from you as quickly as possible" mindset just hurts. Don't get me wrong, every one needs space but we don't have to get it in the way we THINK we do, we really don't.

We wonder why the family in America is going down the toilet? Because we don't value how God designed the family to work...Mother and baby close often, Daddy involved an helping out. I know that's just not always possible.

But when there is a couple who is committed to working together and raising their children together. Why does the blasted Christian whatever (mindset?) have to come in and say "OOoh wait!! You'll spoil that little tyrant. Here stick a bottle in its' mouth. And hurry up and hire a babysitter...never mind the baby's only a few weeks old. YOU need your REST. YOU need to Be in CHARGE and get away."

Don't get me wrong, I like to get away from my children. I need time to refuel. I'm tired. Heck, I'm burnt out a lot of the time. But I don't need to hire a babysitter and leave. My husband and I can refuel separately, we work together to meet every ones needs. And in the evenings after the babies are asleep, we do our thing (by that I mean watching a movie or reading together *clears throat*). My children are my family, they aren't these little lepers that are draining my marriage and ruining my life.

Children are a gift from the Lord: they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like sharp arrows in a warrior's hands. How happy is the man whose quiver is full of them!
Psalm 127:3-4
THIS ARTICLE: Children vs. The Marriage is some thing I might have posted before. But I come back to it again and again. Christ-following Mama of FIVE children (though only had 3 or 4 when she wrote it?). Her thoughts blessed me.
My husband and I have yet to "get away" for a night. It's not necessary, yes we both work really hard and some weeks we don't see quite enough of each other. But marriage isn't this perfect little bubble where you have "us" and "them"... It's LIFE. Life gets messy. Our babies are still so small, we're their world. We'll have many years ahead (Lord willing) where we can leave our kids...There will be a season all too soon where we won't be able to keep our kids home to be with us on the weekends (because no matter how you parent. There will be a stage where friends are cooler, they just will, shucks.). Until then we're doing what we need to to recharge, is it perfect? Nope. Will it work for every one? No, some couples do need to hire a baby sitter every few weeks and leave for a couple of hours. But I think the Christian culture has this "ideal" of what "a good christian marriage looks like", and it's a cookie cutter and it doesn't work. Or when it "works" it is often to the detriment of some one in the family (mainly the young baby they left at home every week because "that's the rule"). Throw out the book and find what REALLY works for YOUR family. Enjoy the season that is "having small children" in the house. Building their trust, letting know that you're there to the best of your ability. That they are important. Blessing them by allowing them to be part of a family. Not a damper and weight on your marriage. Open your heart, drop the "rule book" and meet eachothers needs. Will it be perfect? Nope. But life is what it is. Soak it up.
And two small people are awake and fussing suddenly...I can't edit this the way I'd like to so read it with a grain of salt!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Blast To The Past...

Be Jealous:

Or not.

But I'm excited!! Yes, very much "dating myself" with this post. I'm an 80's baby. This was a big deal in my little world. My brother had one and I thought it was the coolest thing ever when I was 3. I have fond memories of making recordings of ourselves, and my brother (oddly enough) using it as a step stool when he brushed his teeth. Also listening to Raffi (when he'd let me play my music on it), making recordings and listening to Patch the Pirate: extra crackly because it was recordings my parents took off our old records (remember those large black disks?). They recorded them on to cassettes because our record player was dying (or going out or some thing). My parents, very forward thinking like that.

And very techy. My Dad bought his first CD player in 1990ish it was MAASIVE (like 2ft by 2 ft and 6 inches high big!).
His first CD(s) was John Denver's Greatest Hits 1&2 (ooh nostalgia! Still listen to that collection on sunny days with the windows and the wind blowing in "Hey, it's great to be back hooome agaaaain. Some times this old farm feels like a long lost friiiend, hey it's good to be back home again..") and the second CD (if I recall correctly) was Sleep Sound In Jesus (which is still a classic and I have a copy of it my Dad wrote on for me when I left home at 18)... It should be part of every parents lullaby collection, seriously!

Oh okay back on track. Why am I excited about this old school Fisher Price tape player all of a sudden? Because I FOUND for $.075 at a local flea market!!! And it (apparently) WORKS!!!! My dream come true. No seriously, I feel like a little piece of my childhood was filled in some how. I always wanted my own little tape player. Pathetic? Just a little.

So this week you'll find me listening to Raffi and some old tapes I made in middle school of songs recorded off the radio...Rockin (cuz we can) and dancin to some good old "Butterfly Kisses" (because I'm sure it's on there some where), and old "Delilah" shows I probably recorded late into the nights when I was 10... Yes well, we all have our guilty pleasures.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Victory?

Riley was drinking from her sippie. She was in a really rambuncitous mood, kinda wild and ready for some supper...She came over to me with her mouth full of water and squirted it all over my lap.

Instead of getting angry I found myself cracking up. A new trick! Yes, my little odd ball at 2.5 years old has never done any thing like that before (well since she was like 6mos old), she's far too tidy.

So I said "It doesn't go on the floor, it's dirty!" I marched her into the bathroom and said, "That's a cool trick: Here's the sink spit into that!! " She stood there for 5 or so minutes filling her mouth and spitting away. It was adorable.

I think my intial response a year ago would have been to be appalled that my "big" toddler would do some thing so gross.

Just patting myself on the back because I assure you, there have been far more not as pretty moments the past week.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Kegals Not Necessary Afterall?

Pelvic Floor Party: Kegals NOT invited

WOW! Why isn't this discussed at the OBGYN's why is no one talking about this??? AWESOME Advice and it makes so much more sense.

Oh and here's the follow up article on it: You Don't Know Squat

I want to add that though squatting while pregnant is AWESOME. It will help during labor and make delivery easier (having every thing toned yet flexible down there can't hurt!)...A word of caution: Deep squatting after 36 weeks is not recommended unless you KNOW that your baby is in a good position for birth (head down and anterior or left occiput transverse/anterior are ideal). Deep squats can cause baby to engage (head or other end drop down into pelvis)...Good if you're wanting to bring on some effacement, bad if baby's head is at a funny angle or laying in a not-as-ideal position in the womb. I did a few squats late in pregnancy with both pregnancies (dont' ask me what I was thinking) both times my babies dropped.

Oh Nostalgia!!

My computers messed up so I've been using hubby's. I found these belly pics from Riley (my first). Oh that smooth ripe tummy...I was about 30 weeks when these pics were taken. I didn't get a single stretch mark until she had a big growth spurt around 34 weeks and BAM quite a few. :0( Ah well.

And this was 32 weeks...

And this was 35 weeks... Can't really see the stretch marks, I felt like they were sooo noticable: they weren't any thing compared to my second who 1) I gained more weight with 2) baby was a pound bigger and 3) I carried very differently (she laid in a way that stretched harder on the top of my belly than the front).

Ah that makes me so sad. I don't think there is any thing as cute as a first baby belly. I felt like my belly was just recovering from having Riley. The stretch marks were fading, my stomach was flat-ish, or as flat as it can BE after a c/s...And then I got pregnant again. It's Okay Amity, I forgive you... You girls some fun things to my tummy (wont' mention the breasts...) but you were both worth it...And future babies will be to. Just some thing I was thinking about.
Has anyone ever noticed how pregnant bellies look like fruit? They really do to me! Like a giant ripe squash ready to harvest.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Hard day...

If I hear "No Mommie I don't want to." one more time I'm going to scream. Gotta love 2.5

And my 10 month old...Oiye! She wants to do every thing her sister is doing. There is no distracting her. And while Riley is getting better at using her words (Mainly "help Mommie!!") instead of her hands. She still succumbs to letting out her frustration by pushing. Pushing her sisters face into the ground, that is. While laughing gleefully. Ugh. If it's not one thing it's the other. I got up at 6:30 with Amity and dove into the day, I wish I could explain how tired and touched out I feel.

This morning I woke up and I was praying for God to help me present. To be right on top of every thing they were both doing all the time. To keep one of them at my side the entire day so I could protect them from themselves. While I did pretty good with this they still managed to claw and cat fight at a few different points.

I didn't get any thing done. No not true, I put a bunch of clean laundry into a laundry basket and carried it 10 feet. We spent the morning on the front porch reading books and playing. And I got every one fed. After nap they were both so rammy I packed them in the stroller and we ran to the local park I took them out and we walked around the (fenced) pond and watched the ducks. Saw a little mother duck with 4 ducklings that are 1/2 full grown. Some how watching that mother duck got me thinking. She has 4 little ducklings, they're always following her around, she's always teaching them. I don't know gave me more respect for other mother's in nature.

Anyway we watched ducks and walked through the park and went to our special spot and played with sidewalk chalk and rolled in the grass. And it was nice. We were gone for about 2.5 hours.

And then we came home and it was like they had gotten nothing from me the entire day, they were even leechier and fighting with each other.

And then Ryan left 15min late for work and he was (sweet man) going to make supper (pancakes his specialty) I thought "great that will be a help, quick dinner" but I was stuck with the kids for another 45 min because he couldn't work in a "dirty" kitchen. it wasn't that bad. ugh. I'm just angry and whine and I have a really bad headache and the baby wouldn't go down even though she's obviously extremely tired and she spit her medicine all over me and right before she did that she spit up on my shirt. I gave her to the hubby because I was ready to lose it, I did lose it and I swore (not a habit of mine, it came out of nowhere) in front of the girls and I'm just DONE. I feel really bad. I was a grumpy tired mama this evening and I just wish for ONE easy day. It feels like we've had a long string of these lately. Oh and I think I'm battling a UTI. Doesn't help my mood much.

I'm just feeling so drained by the responsibility lately, especially the constant conflict on all sides all.day.long. Not that I'm battling it out with the girls, but setting boundaries and holding them is just exhausting because "holding boundaries" with these ages means constant physical removal redirection. Amity's favorite new thing is climbing up and standing on the little rocking chair, not okay. also tyring to find new ways to crack the baby gates, find any thing off limits. It's good, it's good it's good, she's a genius and brilliant it's a good thing...Discovering her world and all that. But I can't baby proof any more than I have and she cracks the codes.

And Ri joins her in the baby mischief...Things she had outgrown are now being revelled in again, except she knows better and thinks it's a game.

Okay done rambling and whining. I just wish I had 4 arms or an extra me because there is never enough of me to go around these days.

Did You See THIS?!?

Can Breast-Feeding Hurt Your Marriage?
"Why nurturing a passionate marriage is more important than breast-feeding."
by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

I don't even know what to say. Mouth open, eyes bugged. What is WRONG with this guy?

"I am surprised that when scientists discuss all the benefits of breast-feeding, they neglect its most negative consequence. If breast-feeding gets in the way of the marriage—if it means that a husband and wife never go out on dates, or that the mother is so tired from always waking up with the baby that she has no energy to ever be intimate with her husband—the child will probably end up worse off, however many colds or bouts with diarrhea he now avoids.

The crisis we have in America is not undernourished children, it is undernourished marriages. And our kids are getting screwed up, not because of their infant nutrition, but because in most households, children rarely witness a father and mother who are still passionately in love with each other. "

Okay, it's not just that scientists tout the benefits (and there are many). Breastfeeding is the biological norm! We are mammals, we have breasts. We are supposed to (if at all possible) use them to feed our young. Fact of life. And if the Mom is too tired for sex, than it's not all her fault. And breastfeeding shouldn't be the first thing attacked. Maybe she needs to go to the doctor and get her hormone levels and thyroid checked. Pregnancy and birth can take some time to recover from, maybe some thing is a little out of wack. But more importantly, Daddy needs to step up to the plate offer to help with the house work and make sure she's getting naps on the weekends and going to bed at a decent hour... HE can stay up walking a fussy baby for an hour or two in the evenings so Mom (who if she's a SAHM) can get a little space and recharge from constant contact that caring for a small baby often requires. I completely disagree that the problem is "undernourished marriages" . The problem really is that people don't know how to live as a family. In a family, Every one gives a little!

"Indeed, a Harvard University study maintains that a couples' love life decreases by 74 percent in the first year after the birth of a child. Now, given that sex is nearly dead in the American bedroom anyway, with national sex rates in marriage figuring at about once a week, a three-quarters decrease means that sex takes place once every few months—sparse pickings indeed. "

You are an idiot (or just never had kids) if you think that having a baby (starting a family) isn't going to change your sex life!!!! EVERY THING (housework, friendships, working outside the home, sex etc) is going to be low on the priority list when you're suddenly adjusting to caring for a new human being. A tiny baby who is completely helpless and relying on you. And what's wrong with that? Your only priority the first 6-12mos of your babies life should be bonding with it, and caring for it. Helping baby adjust to it's new life and place in the family (and if you have other children helping them adjust to the changes as well!). Now to add: that doesn't mean you drop all other responsabilities of life...But your main priority apart from actual responsabilities (if you are employed outside the home etc) should be bonding as much as possible.

And here is the key to getting every ones needs met: The husband and wife sharing the load together. Learning and growing and caring for the children together. Marriage isn't about sex! It's about the intimacy of a deep friendship, sharing life. Sex can take a back seat for a season. And I've got to say (and maybe this is TMI) my husband are the parents of two small people 19mos apart. We are run ragged most days chasing and caring for these two precious gifts. And we live with family (share a house with my Mom and younger brother). In other words: the logistics of a sex life aren't that easy!

But our life in that respect is better than it has ever been in our marriage. Do we get to have fun as much as we used to? HA! No. But when we do, it is better and deeper and more meaningful. We stay open and communicate and if some one feels like their needs aren't being met, we move responsibilities and priorities around. We are a family, and that's what families do: we work together. There is no "rule" as to how often people should have sex, if both parties are living and working together and are fine with a few times a month: more power to them! If some thing is lacking than things need to be addressed.

Taken from the Natural Jewish Parenting Community . A quote off of their site:

Here is a brief look at what some of our sources have to say about breastfeeding (article HERE):

• The Mishna (Ketubot 59b) instructs us that breastfeeding her baby is a woman’s obligation toward her husband—so much so that other household functions take lower priority during this time.

• According to the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 81:7) a child may nurse, if healthy, until four years old; a sickly or weak child, until five years old.

• Most sources point towards 24 months as the accepted minimum length of the breastfeeding relationship. Even the most lenient of authorities points to the age when a baby has six to eight teeth. This is estimated to be between the ages of ten and sixteen months.

• The Talmud (Yerushalmi, Brochot 68a) states that a Jew should be involved in Torah every hour of the day just as a baby nurses every hour of the day. Also, a baby should be allowed to nurse as often as he desires. “Even if he nurses all day long it will not harm him” (Tosefta, Sotah 4:1).

In closing: that was his personal bias speaking in that article. It isn't even what the Jewish Community advocates. And sadly so many in our culture agree with his bias. And it has cost the health of many a baby. And it degrades women. It is a sad and twisted view of the woman's body and her "place" in society. Because according to him we were created for nothing better than to fulfill the every whim (sexual or otherwise) of our husbands. And I feel sad for him. Breasts were intended by God for so much more than the husbands pleasure.
I feel bad for that Mama he gave such bad advice to. I hope that some one has told her that she did a VERY good thing for her baby. That he was "attached to her like another limb" is a beautiful thing. It means the relationship is as God designed it. Some day that baby "twig" will be filled up with what it needs to keep growing and detach. And start it's own little tree and someday grow up and start it's own family...But when a baby is cut off before it's ready, part of it dies and it never grows quite right. I've seen it happen with my own eyes.

So in closing Rabbi: take your foot out of your mouth and apologize, your advice stinks.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Hands of God...Seriously!


This post took a direction I didn't start out for. When I sat down to write it I thought I was going to discuss the culture and Mommy guilt. But I ended up asking some questions I didn't expect to. I don't claim to be very experienced with all of this. I've only been a Mom for a couple of years. But I've "sat at the feet" (in a manner) of some very wise Mother's and some of this is what I've gleaned. And some just God's been pouring into my heart. I feel like after writing this (processing almost two years of things I've been learning)I have a better understanding of my job as a parent. May you be blessed by reading of the scriptures shared...They absolutely blessed me!

I was laying awake last night. And I was thinking about my life as a mother. I was thinking about how much failure I felt when I had my first. The unexpected C/S, the breastfeeding issues (we over came!), and then a very high needs baby.

My baby didn't do what babies were "supposed to" do. At least from what *I* understood of babies. She didn't sleep well (45min stretches there for a few months), she was very sensitive, sounds made her cry, new things made her cry, change made her cry. She was not a friendly smiley baby. She often scowled at strangers and screamed if they touched her. She didn't want to be left but she didn't want to be cuddled. She would squirm and scream when she was kissed and played with...She had to be in just the right mood for those kinds of games and only VERY briefly. The only time she liked snuggles and touches was when she was being nursed. Looking back I can see how hurt I felt by her stand offishness. I thought babies were supposed to love their Mommie's. To melt into a puddle in your arms and love you. I loved her even if she wouldn't "love" me back. I weathered through that first year, I snuggled her when she'd let me. I soaked up every smile and giggle! Because they did happen, just not as often as I thought they would. And she loved the closeness of nursing, and it felt like constant nursing, so I took the kind of snuggles I could get.

When she was 11months old I found out I was pregnant again. That pregnancy was a journey for me (Ri slowly weaned over 38 weeks of the pregnancy), we learned new ways to connect she became an extremely cuddly lovable toddler. One who would give kisses and loves to be tickled and snuggled (but still for just so long and on her terms). She still scowls at strangers in this adorable way, while she buries her face into me saying, "I bein sy".

My Question ...My Point
What was circling my head early this morning was, why did I feel like a "bad" Mom because I didn't have a "good" baby? The logic is ridiculous. I have no more control, despite my best efforts, over what she liked, how she slept, how she played and how often she needed to eat than I do over her ...her bladder!
Why does our culture focus on these issues? And view any baby who doesn't fit the mold in a negative way? I can't count how many times I was asked "how is she sleeping?" or "oh is she a good baby? Is she sleeping through the night?" by people I barely knew. I wanted to sask "Why do you care? Why is that a sign of moral standing for my infant?". A better question to ask new Mom's would be, "Are you getting enough rest? Do you need help with any thing?" ...Which I suppose that some of the people were trying to ask in their kinda skewed way.

Why the focus on these issues? Maybe it's the rampant teaching that "discipline starts at birth". And you have to control every thing and "keep your baby in line", or your baby will grow to be a child who rules you.

That's a lie, well the second part is.

But yes, discipline does start at birth,

Yet you brought me out of the womb;
you made me trust in you
even at my mother's breast

(Psalm 22:9)

Important Fact Of Life..
We can't learn every thing we need for life unless we trust. We can't grow up confident and able to stand up in the world and what it throws at us unless we feel secure. Teaching a baby that you are always there is discipline. If we ignore this fact we run the risk of emotionally handicapping our children for life.

So What Did Jesus Really Say..?
Jesus didn't teach control. And all through the New Testament He talks about how we should treat people. Babies are learning what the world is about. And we as their parents are the hands of God, their first taste of who He is.

What is Actually Emphasized?
I've read quite a few parenting books from many different kinds of authors, all the ones on discipline seem to focus on these verses:

Train a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it

Prov 22:6

He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.Prov 19:24
Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.
Prov 22:15

Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.Prov 23:13

(Some Background On "The Rod")
If you go through Strong's Concordance and look up the Hebrew words for "rod" and "discipline" and even "child" in each of those verses (and they are different Hebrew words for each in the different verses), you will find some surprising things! I think some time I will go through all that and explain it in a blog post. But briefly. 1) You can't make a doctrine (on discipline or any thing else) on a verse or two. You have to take the Bible as package. 2) Proverbs is a book of word pictures and ideas. "The Rod" is generally a word picture of authority. And the times it's used in correlation with beating a child the the word "child" (specifically in Prov 23:13) is actually the word for youth (around 13-15 years old). In Prov 23:13 the verse is talking about when you have a teen who is out of control and is going to be stoned for his folly. Beat him with a rod and save his life! Be the parent before the rest of the tribe has to do the work. Harsh, yes. But that was life back then. That was life under The Law.

So that's just the brief explanation of that issue... More later. I do want to emphasize, this is not about spanking or not spanking. The point is, what does the Bible really say as a whole in how we treat people (and children by extension)? And what does the current "mainstream" Christian view of parenting reflect to the world? Does it reflect Christ? Not from many of the Christian parenting books I've read, and sermons I've heard. From what I've heard from people looking in from the outside? It looks pretty screwed up.

Parenting Verses to Live By...
Let's take a look at some other passages that could also be applied to parenting. Children, babies, they are "others", they are people. If we are followers of Christ why are we not teaching THIS when it comes to our children. How does God lead us? How would we react if He was physically walking through life with us and constantly rebuking and hitting us into submission??

I don't think we'd like Him very much...We'd love Him from duty and fear. Not because He is a gentle, wise and gracious Heavenly Father.

So here is a look at the Father heart of God...
This is the God we love, and this is how He has called us to live with our children...

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. John 13:14

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:4

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Gal 5:22-23
Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more. Rom 5:20

And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 1 Thess 5:14 (emphasis mine)

When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
The more they were called,
the more they went away;
they kept sacrificing to the Baals
and burning offerings to idols. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk;
I took them up by their arms,
but they did not know that I healed them.
I led them with cords of kindness,
with the bands of love,
and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws,
and I bent down to them and fed them
Hosea 11:1-4

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:12-14

"My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." James 1:19-20

But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.
1 Thessalonians 2:7,8

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Matt 5:9

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin...
Heb 4:15

Every high priest is selected from among men and is ... able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. Heb 5:1-2

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently, But watch yourself or you also may be tempted. Galatians 6:1

The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children--
with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
Psalm 103:8-14, 17-18

The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness."
Jeremiah 31:3

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.Ephesian1:7

(Thank you to the GCM for all the resources! And to the Mama's who shared their favorite verses recently, what a blessing!!!)

I love these verses, I love how they can be applied to every aspect of life. In marriage, in parenting in friendships.

"But What about the God of Judgement?"
You ask... Well yes, God does have some hard correction for the people of Israel through out the OT. He is the same God in the OT as the NT. But in the NT He sent His only Son to redeem His people, and then the Gentiles (anyone who is not Jewish)...Jesus died on a cross, faced hell and all the punishment we deserve, and then overcame death and lived again!

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.Isaiah 53:5

So why do we continue to punish our children for their sins. Instead of leading them to the throne of Grace? Isn't that really our job? Discipline has it's roots in the word "disciple", which essentially is living and working with some one. Modeling and showing them how to live- that's how Jesus did it. He was always gentle in His correction of his followers. Just read the interaction with his disciples, so patient so compassionate! I think we go astray when we assume kids know (and always remember) what is appropriate. It takes time to teach them. It's our job as parents to learn what is age appropriate behavior. And then with this knowledge modeling to our children (which is living and verbalizing the lessons= teaching) what the appropriate behavior is. Wash, rinse, repeat and wait for them to mature.

Some Examples of What It Looks Like...
It IS normal for toddlers to get frustrated and tantrum. Or disappointed and cry. It's our job to assume positive intent (they are frustrated at the world not going as they see it should. Not out to rule the world) so that we can face them with patience and grace and teach them words for what they are feeling. We give our children words for every thing else in life ("See the spoon?", " Look a bird!", "That's a fire truck!") it's even more important to face emotional outbursts and big feelings from a point of teaching. It doesn't happen once, it takes time for them to learn to connect the feeling and word and use their words first.

Now with that teaching, we still hold the boundary! They can't have ____ because they are upset about it. But their feelings are their feelings. And they need to experience them so they can learn real self-control. Not just stuffing them because they are afraid of punishment. So we teach what to do when they are upset. We give them skills: deep breaths, verbalizing the feeling, learning tricks to calm down and reorganize feelings. These are skills that must be learned at some point in life! And let me say learning these skills as an adult is tough. I am a feeling stuffer and it is a hard pattern to break.
On top of teaching skills we reinforce and remind over and over. And wait for them to mature enough to handle the skills we've taught. It takes time (I can't emphasize this enough). And there will be time your kids behavior won't be where you want it, at all. But then again- is your behavior always perfect? Do you always obey God 100%, do you always treat your spouse or friends in a respectful and kind way? Do you always handle your big feelings appropriately? How would you want to be treated when this happens?


Focus on life skills and the child's heart instead of what they did or are doing "wrong". I want to emphasize the "not punishing" thing does not mean you let your children run around like wild animals. But why can't consequences be connected to the misbehavior?

More Examples...Consequences
You can't control your hands [hitting]? Than sit by yourself until you can play gently. And as the parent you don't put your child in a situation where they CAN hit. If your child is in a hitting stage, you stay close and try to stop it before it can happen, teaching "gentle touches" as you go.

You can't jump on the couch. But jumping is a good skill to practice and you need to burn up some energy: here's the trampoline jump on that. (I've heard of some families having an old mattress for the kids to do their jumping on. Either way, you can get small indoor trampolines quite inexpensively on amazon we have this one and it's been a life saver!).

You leave your bike in the yard? Well you obviously can't handle the responsibility, and bike gets put up for a while until you show you can handle caring for an expensive toy.

You're playing in a place that is completely off limits and dangerous (and you know it!). You can't leave my side for a while (be it a day or a week) until you show me you can handle the responsibility of playing out on your own. We'll work closely together, spend lots of time together connecting, talking, and read stories/ have lessons about responsibility.

Consequences should focus on connecting parent and child not driving them apart! That's how God leads and guides us.

In Closing.
I had a rough start when I was launched into motherhood. It was hard. I often felt alone with my sleepless, cranky, sensitive bundle. But I wouldn't be the mother I am today if it weren't for being the baby who didn't fit the mold. I'm not perfect (obviously!). I don't share any of this in judgment, but I am excited! I love these verses, I love what God has been showing me as a Mother! These verses and ideas are just hitting the surface of my heart. I fail all the time. But I also have some success, and I'm blown away how teaching gently really does work, even with my short time as a mother I've seen how quickly (with consistency!) my girls learn things! Yeah we still have our problem areas. But time, prayer (for wisdom) and consistency we'll have conquered those hills and be on to the next mountain range I'm sure. I desperately want to grow and go deeper. I want to teach and train my children as God handles me, through grace.

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
John 1:17

I'm so thankful that God doesn't make cookie cutters in life or in parenting. And that seems to be the theme of the week.

The "Your X Year Old" books are an AWESOME they go through ages 1-8 and talk about what is developing in yoru childs brain so you can understand some of the baffling behaviors kids pull out. By Louise Bates Ames Ph.D
"Easy to Love Difficult to Discpline" by Becky A. Baliey Ph.D: a great resource, I feel like I have so many more "tools" in my parenting "tool box"!

The Complete Book of Christian Parenting and Child Care: A Medical and Moral Guide to Raising Happy Healthy Children by Dr William and Martha Sears an awesome guide for new parents! Goes through a lot of first-time parent stuff: sleep questions, newborn fussiness, nutrition guidelines, bonding with your baby in utero, praying, a chapter to Fathers...It's a really encouraging book. Dr Sears and his wife raised 8 children: one adopted and one with special needs. On top of being a father of 8 Dr Bill has also been a pediatrician for 40+ years and has a LOT of experience under his belt. His wife, Martha, is also a RN with a lot of experience too. They are a great resource.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What's Wrong with "Good Girl"?

This is some thing that I've asked myself several times since my oldest was doing things that would warrant a "good girl!" It runkles me (that is a word...to me). I didn't like it. I don't like it. I've personally never used it for that reason.

I recently read this article from the Natural Child Project. Which, I love that site, but some times it's just a little TOO much for me...My conservative fundamentalist background makes it hard to swallow certain terms some times. Yes, probably just me.

Anyway the article still left me scratching my head a little bit. I mean I GOT it, but not fully until I started reading "Easy to Love Difficult to Discipline" by Becky Bailey Ph.D, loving it! She's talking about praise in her chapter on "encouragement" and a few things stood out to me.

Interesting fact #1
"The National Family institute reported that the average American child spends 12.5 minutes each day communicating with her parents. Of that time 8.5 minutes are spent on corrections, criticisms, or arguments. A University of Iowa study revealed that on average a child hears 432 negative comments daily, compared to 32 positive ones. (Hochschild 1997). This area of family life clearly needs attention." (p. 123)


Bailey goes on to discuss, on what you as the parent do in your own mind. Do you tend to build yourself up? Or tear yourself down for what you haven't done. Her point? If you change how you treat yourself you will naturally change how you treat your children.

She then goes on to ask, "Can Praise Be Discouraging?"

In short, very much so!

A few things stood out to me: "Giving too much general, all-encompassing praise can unduly burden your child, so she feels pressured to live up to unrealistic standards."

I found what she pointed out here very interesting: When you tell a child things like "You are always so sweet." "I love how you are always so kind ...and helpful" they may feel pressured to always BE this so as not to disappoint. She mentions how this will often lead to one child absolutely going to the opposite end of the spectrum to act out and SHOW that this is not the case a cry for them to see the "real me". While the other child tries to live up to this expectation.

This is my sister and me. I lived up to the praise, she went to the opposite extreme. I see this too in my husbands family: one absolutely "crazy" sister, and the other "put together" and trying her hardest be awesome and cool and fly under the radar. It's funny in both cases it was the older sisters who lashed out. And the younger sisters seeing how much hurt it caused the parents tried to live up to what their parents hoped and expected for them...Interesting.

Another thought from Bailey: "Giving too much praise that relies on value judgements teaches your child that "good" equals "pleasing others," and "bad" equals "displeasing others.""..."Young children think simplistically. We often suggest to children that they are good if they do as they are told, and they come to believe us. By extension, they also figure out that when some action an adults as requested isn't accomplished, they must be bad. Children who absorb this message can grow up feeling guilty when they slip up, as all human beings do. They may also grow up to be very judgemental and critical of others who fall short."

She goes on to talk about "judgement junkies" they grow up to be adults who are always anxious about how they are preforming. Some grow up to be unable to handle simple tasks with out some one telling them how they are doing with it, if it's "good" or what is wanted.

There is also the problem with praising for good behavior... It's a selfish thing, because you hope it will mean continued good performance in some aspect or another. But what you are really telling her is (or what many children come to conclude), "I am only lovable when I please my parents."

So things to remember: "...The process counts as much as the product." you teach this by noticing your childs efforts and small steps "not just the touch down" (she was talking about foot ball games being super boring if the fans only cheered when a touch down happened).

Do not praise by comparing...Like in Romona "I like how Susan is sitting in HER chair. Every one sit like Susan."

That builds conflict and competition NOT unity and cooperation.

So what DO we do for praise? I think the thing I've struggled with is that wanting to praise my babies is NATURAL! But I see it now (finally!) there is a right way and a wrong way to do it.

Bailey's advice:
1) Notice your children rather than judging them.
2)Link your child's actions to enjoyment and satisfaction rather than to tangible rewards.

"Children ask to be seen, not judged. But adults tend to judge rather than see. Your child might say, "Watch me on the monkey bars." instead of replying "look at you climbing so high,' you might say "good job, honey." Instead of describing your child's action, you have judged it."

"Judgement underlies conditional love- love that makes demands."

some examples

"Good Job Riley!" OR
"Riley, you have put your toys in the bins and your books on the shelves. Now you can find them when you want to play


"You are such a good girl." OR
"You showed your sister how to use that sorting toy. That was very helpful."


Stick to exactly what you see. Start with personal pronouns of "you" or "I notice"

I LOVED this suggestion...Ask when giving praise, "can this be recorded with a camera?", you can't record a judgement! So if your child did some thing you are excited about think about how a camera would see it and describe it that way! "Wow, you took each step one at a time and you made it all the way to the top of the ladder!"
A Camera can't see "Oh great job being nice."

So this is a bit of a scattered post but it's some thing I was super excited to really get. As for the "good girls" I am glad to say that I now have a real reason to make sure we avoid it!

Now off to enjoy the silence of babies asleep in their beds!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Greater Problem...Parenting

THIS ARTICLE (from Secular Homeschooling) is AWESOME. It got me all fired up on facebook and I did that "write a whole long thing before the link and then 3 comments afterwards" thing.
When I could just post about it here. and put up THAT link But I feel awkward, this blog still feels so private to me. Though I don't mean for it to be, I want to be open about my parenting, shout from the roof top...

What would I shout? Definitely not, "do it like me!" Because that's the whole problem. So many are doing it like some one else, and so few are thinking for themselves: even when it may make them different. (gasp).


"But the world is a difficult place, and parenting is a difficult job. Some people would rather have someone tell them exactly what to do than have to think things through for themselves — especially since making one's own decisions means taking full responsibility when, inevitably, mistakes are made and everything doesn't go perfectly.

What these people don't learn until it's far too late is that letting someone else make the decisions for you is a decision, too. And if you follow someone else's directions for what they promise will be the perfect life, you're still responsible for every one of the actions on that to-do list you decided to let someone else write up for you."

"This is about thinking for oneself versus handing one's thinking apparatus over to someone else and begging them to tell you what to do."

Parenting is HARD work. There are no easy or quick fixes. It's time for parents (especially parents who profess to follow Christ) to start thinking for themselves. Be wary of any teacher who says their way is "guaranteed" to make a baby sleep, bring up well disciplined and happy healthy kids...bla bla bla. If you're looking for Christian teaching on the family the emphasis should be on the fact that God is a PERSONAL God. The book should be encouraging you to crack open your Bible and pray through these issues for yourself.

Not fear mongering and guilting you into submission and agreement on the point they are trying to make. Example: "it's your fault your baby/child isn't doing XYZ...you obviously weren't following the program closely enough."

Or it's your fault your child IS doing XYZ. You obviously weren't being consistent enough with what we said."

Or a parent does follow and every thing to a T and it blows up in their face (you know little things like, beating the child to death. Or to the point where they are taken from you by CPS. Or you baby is diagnosed with failure to thrive and is hospitalized. Because silly thing, but your breasts make and store milk differently than the next Mom. And your baby actually DID need to eat more often than every 3 (or two! Or one!) hours. Or your milk supply disappeared (for the same reason), shucks! The response? "Well you obviously misunderstood what we were saying."


Anyway back from the rabbit trail (did I get on one? hmm...), the point I'm really trying to make: Our God doesn't make cookie cutters. He has a specific plan for every parent, baby, and family. So much of what we are conditioned to think of as "moral issues" are actually a culteral bias. Or just plain ignorance.

Examples: where and how baby sleep. In the USA babies are expected to sleep alone pretty much from day 1. In other countries the majority of babies sleep with their parents (or mother) from birth well into the toddler years. Another culteral bias: "children should be seen and not heard." That toddler tantruming in the grocery store? Yes, annoying. But the child is not sinning for crying (okay screaming) because Mom dragged them out at lunch time and they are HUNGRY and ready for a nap...You get the picture. Don't judge, they are little and immature and doing all they know to do in the circumstance. That said, Mom take your baby (I mean 3 year old) home as fast as you can, we've all been there but no one likes hearing it. Okay THAT was a rabbit trail.

So in closing, I do "over think" what I do as a parent, I admit it. But I'd rather be guilty of that, than get to the end of my parenting years and be filled with regret that I didn't pray and seek God's face more when it came to my children- and how I treat and raise them. Babies and children are human too, they have feelings just as real as any adult. And they should be given just as much consideration. They are also heedless, foolish and children: they take a LOT of time and training (ie TEACHING: modelling appropriate behavior, and lots of consistency with boundaries: over and over and over again).

I thought least 4 times this morning that being a parent is so big and difficult. At one point this morning I wanted to quit. The girls were just overwhelming. I feel like I fail all the time. But I'm always going to keep trying, keep extending grace to myself and to my children, and keep praying that I'll continue to grow. That God will continue to drop information in my lap to pray over so I can make informed decisions for my family.

That article said so many thing that I wish I could go into...But that one subject was on my mind today. Please take a read and encourage those who are considering adopting the Pearls teaching to look elsewhere! Their teaching not only damages families and children. It gives Christians and homeschoolers a bad name.

To recommend: Dr. Tim Kimmel has an awesome book on parenting that gives a really new (well not really new) look at Christian Parenting in the American/Western culture.. It's called, Grace Based Parenting (it truly isn't a book on permissiveness 'grace covers all so let your kids do their thing" but on the Father Heart of God). Take a read of that, it has so much crystallized in my heart how I don't want to parent: out of fear...But knowledge and love.